The March for Science is an event/protest/rally being held on April 22 2017. The main march will occur in Washington DC, but there will likely be marches all over the world. There is an SE chat room dedicated to the march. As many of our community members are scientists and/or support science, I was wondering if we wanted a community event countdown to be shown on the main page. As the event is somewhat political in nature, I wanted to check with the community before creating an event. The countdown timer is not overbearing and is just a small item on the side bar.

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    Please do! I will ask around on Physics.SE to see how we can promote this event as well. =)
    – auden
    Feb 24, 2017 at 19:14
  • I've created a similar meta post on Physics.SE.
    – auden
    Feb 24, 2017 at 20:17
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    Maybe policy makers don't have access to pawalled papers. Or perhaps they get confused by the results. Feb 26, 2017 at 21:59
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    @FranckDernoncourt is your comment related to my question, because I fail to see the link ...
    – StrongBad
    Feb 26, 2017 at 22:37
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    @StrongBad The link is that many aspects need to be improved about science: this march is just one of many initiatives, and I don't think it deserves a particular highlights. Feb 26, 2017 at 22:48

3 Answers 3


I don't think this warrants a community event countdown. That feature is intended for Academia.SE chat events, not just events of interest.

I think a regular community ad is a much better way to promote this kind of event.

  • I agree with her ^^
    – User001
    Feb 24, 2017 at 21:01
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    Of course, maybe it could be a chat event, if the community was interested in that...
    – kim holder
    Feb 25, 2017 at 0:15
  • Agreed. The presence of significant overlap between the members of two communities (Academia SE and Marchers for Science) doesn't make them the same thing. kim's chat event suggestion sounds like a cool idea, for those interested.
    – Pops
    Mar 7, 2017 at 15:30

Yes, we should.

It is somewhat political in nature, but it has been endorsed by major organisations, such as the AAAS (which publishes Science magazine) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the American Statistical Association (ASA):

Major U.S. science groups endorse March for Science, Feb. 23, 2017, Science, DOI:10.1126/science.aal0697.

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    I think later it will be visible in the news. I think in the current political atmosphere, a global march, with a main march in Washington D.C., on the Earth's Day, is obviously strongly political, despite that it is communicated mainly as apolitical. We will see that in the news. Be back at 4/23.
    – peterh
    Feb 25, 2017 at 0:05
  • More funding for science means more money for scientific publishers. Maybe that's why publishers support the march (conveniently ignoring that publishers' paywalls probably don't help making science more accessible, which is supposed to be one of the main goals of the march). Mar 26, 2017 at 16:54

The main issue I have with this march is that I don't understand to whom the protest is addressed. Going through marchforscience.com, it seems to be mostly geared toward governments, especially the newly elected US government, but when I read the Our Principles and Goals page of the march it looks to me that most of the issues being raised are caused by researchers themselves.

Science that serves the common good: Scientists work to build a better understanding of the world around us. Science is a process, not a product -- a tool of discovery that allows us to constantly expand and revise our knowledge of the universe. In doing so, science serves the interests of all humans, not just those in power. We must protect the rights of every person to engage with, learn from, and help shape science, free from manipulation by special interests.

How can every person engage with, learn from, and help shape science, given that most papers, code and data isn't freely publicly available? That's the responsibility of researchers.

OK for the "free from manipulation" part, thouh governments are just one of many entities that may try to manipulate researchers' results.

Cutting-edge science education: We support science education that teaches children and adults to think critically, ask questions, and evaluate truth based on the weight of evidence. Science is not a field that should be understood only by a small few -- every person, from every background, deserves an education that encourages scientific learning alongside the arts and humanities. Science works best when scientists come from diverse perspectives, and we must work to encourage and support a new generation of scientists that increasingly includes historically underrepresented groups.

The US government is not responsible for the insane tuition fees that the private universities charge in the US.

Open and honest science communication and inclusive public outreach: Gag rules on scientists in government and environmental organizations impede access to information that is a public right. Our tax dollars support this scientific research and withholding their results limits the public’s ability to learn from the important developments and discoveries that we have come to expect from our scientists. In addition, scientists often rely on the public to help identify new questions that need to be answered.

If researchers want to make the research funded by the taxpayers available to the taxpayers they should quit publishing in paywalled venues.

Evidence-based policy and regulations in the public interest Science observes and asks questions about the world. Our understanding is constantly changing, presenting us with new questions and answers. Science gives us the ability to examine these questions, enabling us to craft improved policies and regulations that serve our best interests. Political decision-making that affects the lives of Americans and the world at large should make use of peer-reviewed evidence and scientific consensus, not personal whims and decrees.


Funding for scientific research and its applications: De-funding and hiring freezes in the sciences are against any country’s best interests. We believe that the federal budget should reflect the powerful and vital role that science plays in supporting our democracy. We advocate federal funding in support of research, scientific hiring, and agency application of science to management. This funding cannot be limited to environmental and medical fields -- scientific support must be inclusive of diverse disciplines.

OK but keep in mind hundreds of millions wasted by researchers every year just to pay for paywalls, because researchers keep publishing in paywalled venues.

Humanize science: Science is first and foremost a human process -- it is conducted, applied, and supported by a diverse body of people. Scientific inquiry is not an abstract process that happens independent of culture and community. It is an enterprise carried out by people who seek to expand our knowledge of the world in the hope of building a better, more informed society.

Since the goals are redundant, I'll also repeat myself: if researchers want a "better, more informed society", they should make their research output (papers/code/data) freely and publicly available.

Partner with the public: We join together as scientists and supporters of science to embody the importance of partnerships formed between scientists and the broader community. Science works best when scientists share our findings with and engage the communities we serve in shaping, sharing, and participating in the research process. We also look to the public for inspiration about what new questions need to be asked about the world around us. The lines of communication must go in both directions. If scientists hope to discuss their work with the public, they must also listen to the public's thoughts and opinions on science and research. Progress can only be made by mutual respect.

I don't think the government's intervention is necessary here.

Advocate for open, inclusive, and accessible science: We strive to break down barriers in our own community. A career in science should be an option for anyone and everyone who is passionate about discovery. Likewise, the process and results of scientific inquiry should be open to all. Science can ably and accurately inform the decision-making of all people, from the choices we make as consumers to the policies we adopt through public debate. By bringing scientists to “teach-in” at the National Mall and in public spaces around the globe, we voice our support for science being freely available.

Again, the lack of openness is mostly an issue caused by researchers, not the governments.

Support scientists: We gather together to stand up for scientists, including those in public service. We pledge to speak up for them when they are silenced, to protect them when they are threatened and to provide them with support when they feel they can no longer serve their institutions. Scientists in both public and private sectors must be allowed to communicate their results freely, without misrepresentation or distortion and without the fear of retribution.


Affirm science as a democratic value: Science is a vital feature of a working democracy, spurring innovation, critical thinking, increased understanding, and better, healthier lives for all people. By marching in Washington, DC and around the world, we take one of many steps to become more active in our communities and in democratic life. We hold our leaders -- both in science and in politics -- accountable to the highest standards of honesty, fairness, and integrity. We gather together to send a message: we will all work to ensure that the scientific community is making our democracy stronger.

OK. (finally they indicate that leaders in science - not just politics - are also responsible)

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    This really reads like a good example of whataboutism.
    – Dirk
    Mar 1, 2017 at 13:43
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    @Dirk Well I was just going through the goals of the march and trying to see who are responsible for each of them. Mar 1, 2017 at 16:59
  • @Dirk, so who is the protest addressed to, then? The first two sentences of this answer are key, the rest of it is not. Great point, Franck; +1.
    – Wildcard
    Mar 8, 2017 at 2:46
  • The US government is not responsible for the insane tuition fees that the private universities charge in the US It is because it subsidizes credit. When credit is artificially cheap, prices go up, c.f. subprime crisis.
    – Cape Code
    Mar 14, 2017 at 13:40
  • Also I find particularly lame that you'd try to hijack a movement motivated by concerns of the American scientific community about a government that shows a staggering scientific illiteracy and a daunting penchant for obscurantism to advertise your pet publishing scheme.
    – Cape Code
    Mar 14, 2017 at 14:20
  • @CapeCode The march for science organizers should state their goals more clearly on their website then. As it currently is, when I read the Our Principles and Goals page of the march it looks to me that most of the issues being raised are caused by researchers themselves (see my answer). As a result, it looks to me as an attempt to blame governments for issues that are actually caused by researchers. That is very misleading for the general public. As for my "pet publishing scheme", yes I believe that taxpayers should be able to access the output of publicly funded research (eg paper) for free Mar 14, 2017 at 16:13
  • It's ludicrous and unsubstantiated to imply that the current hostility towards science expressed by the executive branch of the US government is a consequence of researchers publishing in "paywalled" venues. The hostility is due to conflicts between political opinions and personal interests with scientific evidence. Don't try to squeeze one of your endless rants into that issue.
    – Cape Code
    Mar 14, 2017 at 19:56
  • @CapeCode I have never said it is a consequence of researchers publishing in "paywalled" venues. I think publishing in "paywalled" venues doesn't help scientific illiteracy amongst the general public though. Mar 14, 2017 at 19:59
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    @FranckDernoncourt It would make an interesting question on the main site to ask whether quality open-access journals, such as the ones by EGU/Copernicus, have a higher readership and enhance scientific literacy among the general public, compared to closed-access ones; or whether both are anyway only being read by researchers with affiliations through which they would have access to both.
    – gerrit
    Mar 26, 2017 at 22:49
  • @gerrit Good idea: Are open access papers read by a larger readership than paywalled papers? Feel free to rephrase. Mar 27, 2017 at 21:32

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